Google’s Smarty Pins Geography Game Is New but Not Novel

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
July 2 2014 12:07 PM

Google’s Smarty Pins Geography Game Is New but Not Novel

Welp, there goes my productivity for the day.

Screencap from Google.

On Tuesday Google released a geography game that asks you place-based questions and has you drop a pin in Maps to indicate your answer. If you get it right, you win “miles” instead of points, because if you get it wrong the game calculates the distance between your answer and the correct answer and subtracts that mileage from your miles bank. (You start with 1,000 miles.)

To make the game playable, so you’re not just dragging pins around the world, Google automatically brings you to the general region that contains the place that will correctly answer each question. It’s a nice hint if you have no idea what the answer to a given question is, but it also makes it fairly easy to guess without overdrawing your miles.


Smarty Pins is a reasonable way to procrastinate at work, but it's not exactly innovative. It seems like the type of thing a company might build to promote its new maps product—and yet Google debuted Maps almost 10 years ago. Plus, in the meantime other games, like everyone’s secret passion GeoGuessr, have created cooler versions of Smarty Pins. Of course, Google can’t do everything all the time, but this one was pretty obvious.

This is what happens when you answer incorrectly.

Screencap from Google.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.


Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

160 Countries Host Marches to Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Trending News Channel
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.